O.T.

I have a lot of trouble reading the Old Testament of the Bible. I’ve tried, and I’ve tried…and it’s just impossible for me. I’ve read through Genesis, even studied it for 2 weeks at Chapter camp and I loved it. I’ve tried to go from there and it just didn’t work out. In college I took a Judiaum class in hopes that it would inspire me to read more of the “Hebrew Scriptures”. Again, it couldn’t help me.

Right now I’m reading this book that talks about how the Bible is believed to have more than 40 authors. Instead of God using one man to write the Bible he chose lots of different people. Why is that? The author suggests it’s to present God from 40 different perspectives from all different periods of time. What an amazing way to view scripture and to read about God.

With all this said, I still can’t read the O.T. I never went to Sunday school as a kid so I don’t really know any of the old stories besides what’s found in Genesis. I can’t answer anyone’s questions regarding any of it! Do I really need to? Any advice?

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5 responses to “O.T.

  1. Ooh. You pushed my button with this one. That’s what happens when you go to a Christian college and have to take Bible classes.

    I did grow up going to Sunday school, and when I was little my family always read a Bible story together before bed, so I was pretty well-versed in the Old Testament. In college, I took an excellent OT course that convinced me that the OT is an essential part of the Christian story, and I definitely think Christians need to be familiar with it. So, if you’re finding that difficult, here are some of my suggestions:

    1. If you haven’t already, definitely get yourself a readable version of the Bible. I grew up on NIV but my favorite now is the ESV (English Standard Version).

    2.. Start with some of the shorter, “story” books like Esther, Ruth, Nehemiah, Jonah, etc. They all have really strong plots and should keep your interest.

    3. Read Isaiah. It can seem dull at first, but if you stick with it, you will find some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. Some of my favorite chapters are 40, 43, 60, 61, and 63.

    4. Read Psalms. This is probably obvious. I turn to Psalms to be comforted, encouraged, convicted, etc. I always find something that speaks to my need at the time.

    5. Think about the OT in light of the NT. Consider that the people who listened to Jesus’ teachings in person lived their lives by the OT law; were bound by it, in fact. They knew nothing else. When you understand more of the OT and its laws and stories, the fact that Jesus came and fulfilled all of that, and set us free from it, becomes even more amazing.

  2. first, i would have to ask, what is your difficultly reading OT? boredom? difficult to understand? knowing the struggle will help better address a solution…

    second, i would agree to get a “readable” version, however, i would go with the message. it will help not be bogged down by the language (helps me a lot). the stories that you’re talking about are more than likely the ones in Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Samuel. those would be good books as far as major stories, and again, reading in the message is a great help. makes it more like a story if you are just going for big picture and not in depth study. i would also suggest reading Proverbs or Psalms as they are poetic and therefore more familiar. i personally reading a chapter of proverbs a day based on what day of the month it is. it’s a great personal habit for me for keeping the word, and reading great little morsels of wisdom each morning. great way start to my day =)

    another suggestion would be to find a Bible study to join that is going through an old test book so as to get some perspective. it will also help you to gain an appreciation for the OT. studying the OT with others is the best way to do it so you can help each other gain understanding.

    i would definitely say that whoever wrote the book you’re reading is right. there are about 40 authors, but they were all God inspiried.  that makes it all the more amazing, that all those people over all that time would write (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) about God and it would all be sooooooo consistent and beautifully coherant.  

    i need to go to work, but i would be more than happy to conitnue talking with you about this… =)

  3. I don’t know if this will help your situation or not, but I really like history. Even so i agree that the OT can be “Challenging”! But what I find that helps me is knowing backstory, the stuff that surrounds what’s being talked about in the OT books. For example: what was going on in the world around the time of King David? Or what is the significance of some of these tradions that seem so weird by our standards.

    So for me, I got the Archeology Study Bible. Hehe, it may sound intimidating but it’s just the NIV with a bunch of pictures and extra info that puts a lot of the Bible in it’s historical context.

    For someone that finds history interesting, I’ve foudn it quite useful.

    – D

  4. Well I’ll just say that I 2nd, 3rd, and 4th everyone who’s commented before and its definitely a good idea to read the OT 🙂

  5. In seminary, I found the OT very hard going, too! So you are not the only one! I found the “Texts of Terror” written about the horror of what happened to someone’s treasured daughter or wife quite patriarchal, but then, I realized this was more about the misdeeds of man, and this somehow got me through it. I believe it’s more about looking at the imperfection of man’s deeds and how God had to intervene and the lessons it teaches that are at the heart of the OT. I’ve found the Oxford edition, of NRV the best for me, since it includes the books that were not included in the Bible, too! Anyhow, the OT, shows me that Man has not changed, but the NT continues to give me the great hope of Jesus. Not sure if any of this helps…just thought I’d add my 2 cents! 🙂

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